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Old 10-08-2010, 15:52   #1
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Itinerary for St. Martin Bareboat

Hi,

We will be taking a bareboat from St. Martin for Thanksgiving week in November and I'm looking for suggestions on an itinerary. We are interested in doing some diving, so ideally we'd overnight a couple of places where we could do a couple of dives the next morning, head out by lunch and be settled in the next anchorage by dusk. We're going principally to be out on the water, so we're not looking for fine dining and such -- a good, preferably quiet, anchorage is preferable to having good shore amenities.

Dive shop recommendations are also welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 10-08-2010, 16:38   #2
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Saba is a little out of the way and I've never been diving there, but it is consistently rated one of the best diving sites in the Caribbean - and it is a very unusual place:

Dive Saba in the Dutch Caribbean
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Old 10-08-2010, 16:43   #3
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Saba, any of the three shops on the island are good buy I like SeaSaba.

I think SabaDeep will take folks out to Saba Bank, but I've never gone... SeaSaba probably would too if their schedule wasn't too full.

It looks like Saba Divers got some bigger boats (they used to have RIBs, which were fine)

Great diving.... Saba is about 15 mi from Sint Maarten, straight off the cruise ship pier in Phillipsburg (but the harbor is on the other (south) side of the island).

Statia, not so much. Poor vis every time I've dived there, from the swell or commercial traffic. The park there has sunk a couple of ships, one, the Charlie Brown was a cable-laying ship. Nice wreck dive.

As far as diving on St Marten, I've had dive shop owners tell me not to bother after hearing about my diving on Saba - no comparison. And after a taxi driver tried to charge me $100USD for a ride from the airport to the hotel (about a mile, but they had the road configured to be unwalkable) I gave up on St. Barts. Anguilla is a nice stop, with a great resort (the guy who invented Cuisinart owns it?)


And it all depends on the wind and swell, of course.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:32   #4
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St. Martin is nice and you can explore the north shore, Tintamarre and also eat and dive in Grand Case, but you could also do a quick sail over to St. Barths and anchor in Anse Columbier and join a dive group there. Checking out of St. Martin and into St. Barths and vice-versa with a charter boat is very quick and simple.

Saba is great to visit if the seas are down, but in any swell are uncomfortable since the moorings there are not particularly well-protected. But if the weather is good then the diving there is supposed to be excellent.
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:21   #5
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Thanks for the advice on Saba. I've read a lot about it and I think it would be worthy of a full separate diving trip. It also looks like a unique and interesting community. However, I think it would be a bit much with a bareboat for a week and I understand there aren't great anchorages because of the exposure.

As suggested by Zanshin I am currently entertaining some combination of St. Martin, St. Barths and/or Anguilla just for simplicity. I've heard Anguilla has some good wrecks and decent reefs; plus it looks like the least civilized of the three (a good thing for me, generally). I have also read some people say not to waste time with Anguilla, but it was my impression that it was because of the lack of amenities compared to the other two, so perhaps I should discount such comments.

Any thoughts on that?

Thanks,

Challo
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:13   #6
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Are you chartering with Moorings or Sunsail out of Oyster Pond? If so there is a dive shop in Captain Oliver's Marina that can provide you wit equipment and information on the local dive sites. How long will you be there? One week wil not be long enough to get to Nevis or St. Kitts. Don't miss St. Barth's, Tintamarre, Grand Case. Saba may have great diving but it has only poor anchorages in any sea. There are also a number of small islands north west of Anguilla that have good reef diving. I'll be getting to Captain Olivers in mid-November wher we have a winter slip - Look for Special Delivery.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:23   #7
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Are you chartering with Moorings/Sunsail?
Do you need a dive company or are you looking at bringing BCD's and renting tanks?

If with the Moorings, rent tanks at "The Dive Shop". It's located right on the docks.
On your first day, leave and head to Tintamarre. There are some mooring balls. Try to get one of the most Northerly available. Use your dingy to continue around the island to a white dive ball. It's located about 1/4 mile to the north. Tie off there and follow the rope down. It's connected to an old tug in 55' of water. Send 1/3 of your time exploring the wreck, then follow the bow of the wreck towards the shore and you'll find a reef. This is a good first dive. and easy.
That night, head to Pinel Island for the night.
The next day, enjoy Orient Bay and have your tanks filled on the beach at Neptune Dive shop. You can go for a shallow 30' dive off Cay Verde. Go as far to the North as you can. There are tender mooring balls but be careful to not tie off the the most Northerly. I'd spend that night anchored right off shore from Club O. There is a great sea breeze there and excellent holding.

Ok - I'll stop here. I should have asked what day your arriving.
I'll be at Captain Olivers on Saturday the 20th from around 4:00 until Sunday around 4:00. If your starting your charter there I can give you the rundown at that time. If not, I'll give you some more options on this message board.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:30   #8
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Hi Speciald.
I'll also be there for most of November. Look me up. I'm the catamaran at the end of the dock from the Dive Shop.

Challo - one more piece of advise - BEWARE OF HAPPY HOUR AT THE DINGY DOCK
Right Speciald!!
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Old 11-08-2010, 14:39   #9
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More good advice - thanks! I am intrigued by the dingy dock happy hour comment.

We are chartering from the Moorings from the evening of 19th November to the 27th. We'll probably provision and do the chart briefing on the 19th and head out early the morning of the 20th, so won't overlap with you, Palarran. Sounds like we'll be there at the same time as you, Speciald. We'll look for you. Palarran, we'll probably go with a dive company in order to have local knowledge with us. I presume, like many other places, they will come to our boat and it sounds from your description like there are many companies around and likely one near any anchorage and/or choice dive site.

We'll also have some non-divers with us so we realistically would probably be limited to 2-3 days diving. What we've done in the past is gone out in the morning, done 2 dives and we're back at the boat underway by lunchtime. If you had to pick your top 3 places to dive around St. Martin, Anguilla an St. Barths, what would they be? With that information, we can build the rest of the itinerary and still make sure we have time to ignore your warning and have happy hour at the dingy dock!

Cheers,

Challo
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Old 11-08-2010, 15:41   #10
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I've only dived on the South and North sides of SXM and Ile Forchue which is by St. Barts. The south diving was the best. Use Dive Safari's out of Simpson Lagoon.

Neptune Dive is on the beach in Orient. They have a large inflateable that they use to transport divers. They are really great guys but the dive sites are not as good. For what your looking for though, that's who I'd recommend. Contact Sylvie at:
Neptune Dive Center : Scuba diving Orient Bay.

The thing with going to Anguilla is that it can be expensive if you don't stay in Road Bay. Crocus Bay is really pretty and you can take your dingy to Little Bay which is stunning. Then you can go to Prickly Pear for a day, but you can't over night there. We anchored off of Scurb Island and made an early run for St. Bart's last year - it was a great sail. I've heard they don't allow anchoring there but we did less then a year ago. But, in the end, it takes two nights for Anguilla and they may be spent better elsewhere.

A consideration is that if you don't leave SXM or St. Bart's, you don't have to clear in/out of SXM. You do for St. Bart's but it is REALLY fast and easy. So a good itinerary would be first and second night at Orient Bay with a day visit to Tintamarre. Then go to St. Bart's, spend two nights in Gustavia and one at Colombier, then sail all the way around back to SXM and go to Marigot. the next day you sail back to Oyster Pond.

To rush your stay to St. Bart's, for me, is a mistake. Way to nice. You will see me there as that's where we are heading and will be just one day behind you.

Another suggestion is to use the cruisersforum google search and look for other threads. I've seen about 5 of them over the last couple of years. Good luck.

When your at the Dingy Dock, say hi to Kurt for me. Then ring the bell hanging on the wall, it will bring you good luck.
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Old 11-08-2010, 15:42   #11
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You must, must, must be in Grand Case on Tuesday night.


MUST!


They have this wild and wonderful street party through and around all the resturants and its just the antz pantz. Nothing like it in the world



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Old 12-08-2010, 15:33   #12
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Sounds like your itinerary is developing nicely. Agree with all of the above. And the caution note regarding Saba. Went there to dive and hike. Weather window was "perfect". Except it was a bit off. Spent a VERY rolly night there and we are a cat. The only other boat on a mooring, (there is no anchorage, only about 15 balls), was a 36 mono and they spent the night on the nose or tail. Never seen a boat on a ball hobby horse like that one did. I guarentee they had PB&J for dinner. They left REAL early the next day.
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Old 20-08-2010, 13:42   #13
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I will also be there from Nov 25th to Dec 4th. Maybe we should all meet at the dinghy dock for happy hour! This will be my second time chartering in St Martin. I too will be looking for better dive spots, because last time I only did snorkeling and didn't find anything that great. We sailed over to Anguilla, but got into Road Bay too late to check in. The next morning, we decided to leave and not check in. Although on the way out we did stop at Sandy Island for a lunch time snorkel--nothing great, a lot of surge. I'm still conflicted on whether it will be worth it next time to spend more time exploring Anguilla. I second MarkJ's comment on Grand Case Tuesday night "street party". It was a gas. We will proabaly spend more time on the West Coast of St Martin and Orient bay, as well as more exploring of St. Barts.
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Old 20-08-2010, 13:57   #14
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Dang it, I leave on the 25Th!!
Are you scuba certified?
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Old 20-08-2010, 14:41   #15
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Provisioning is best at Grand Marche and Cost-U-Less (similar to Costco). need a car or taxis to get there from Captain Oliver's. Grand Marche in Cole Bay is the best on the island (and newest). You may want to get the Moorings starter back - toilet paer, aluminum foil, etc. I live in the tall building at the entrance to the Pond - the Lighthouse and will have a small car. I'm not sure when I'll get there but probably before Thanksgiving. My boat, Special Delivery, will be down the dock from the dockmaster's office after we get there. Look me up.
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